History Channel explores the Dark Ages

On Sunday March 4, 2007, the History Channel will premiere a two-hour program on the history of the Dark Ages. Long characterized as barbaric and uncivilized, the program will attempt to dispel the myths and explore the real and varied history of the period.

"The causes are fundamental," says Tomas R. Martin, professor of classics at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and a featured expert on the show.

"When your economy declines and your population declines and you don't have any security, when people can come over the horizon and take everything that you have, then the technology -- of which writing is one -- and speaking publicly and communicating across distances gets lost. That's how culture, which is the basis of civilization, struggles. And there's less written down, there's less said, so we know less," he said at a press gathering in Pasadena.

The program debuts at 21:00 (EST) and repeats at 23:00 (EST).